Tag Archives: cats

Women sleep better with dogs than with human partners

There are many dog trainers who advise against letting your dog sleep with you in bed.  Some new research by Dr Christy Hoffman at the Canisius College will challenge that notion.

Izzy the greyhound in bed

In a survey of 962 women living in the United States, dogs who slept with their female owners were found to disturb sleep less than a human counterpart and they provided stronger feelings of comfort and security.

Dogs’ sleep patterns more closely coincide with sleep patterns in humans than do the sleep patterns of cats, which may explain why dog moms stick to a stricter sleep schedule and go to bed earlier.

Cats didn’t fare quite as well in this research.  Cats were reported to be equally disruptive as human partners and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security compared to dogs or humans.

Journal citation:  An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing

Source:  Canisius College

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Can your dog boost your sex appeal?

Yes, according to a new study published in Anthrozoös,  a multidisciplinary journal of the interactions of people and animals.

Dogs and dating

Photo courtesy of http://www.DogChannel.com

In collaboration with the pet store chain PetSmart, the researchers recruited 1,210 single pet owners through the online dating service Match.com. In the pool of participants, 60% were women and 40% were men; 72% were dog owners and 42% cat owners.

The subjects took a 21-question online survey about how pets entered into their dating lives and 35% percent of women and 26% of men said they had been more attracted to someone because they owned a pet.

Dogs won 500 of the 600 votes for the sexiest pet a guy could own.

Author of the recently published article entitled ‘The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating’ Peter Gray, said: “The direction of these patterns in results was toward cats being exploited less often than dogs as “social tools” in the dating world”.

So if you want to increase your dating chances, get a dog.

Source:  Taylor & Francis media release

The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating, Peter B. Gray et al, Volume 28, Issue 4, 2015, Anthrozoös: A multidisciplinary journal of the interactions of people and animals.

Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08927936.2015.1064216

Research shows why cats are more independent than dogs

Domestic cats do not generally see their owners as a focus of safety and security in the same way that dogs do, according to new research.

Relaxed cat and dog. While it is increasingly recognized that cats are more social and more capable of shared relationships than traditionally thought, this latest research shows that adult cats appear to be more autonomous -- even in their social relationships -- and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of protection. Credit: © bodza2 / Fotolia

Relaxed cat and dog. While it is increasingly recognized that cats are more social and more capable of shared relationships than traditionally thought, this latest research shows that adult cats appear to be more autonomous — even in their social relationships — and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of protection.
Credit: © bodza2 / Fotolia

The study by animal behaviour specialists at the University of Lincoln, UK, shows that while dogs perceive their owners as a safe base, the relationship between people and their feline friends appears to be quite different.

While it is increasingly recognised that cats are more social and more capable of shared relationships than traditionally thought, this latest research shows that adult cats appear to be more autonomous – even in their social relationships – and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of protection.

The research, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, was led by Professor Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, along with Alice Potter – who studied as a postgraduate at Lincoln and now works with the Companion Animals Science Group at the RSPCA.

Professor Mills said: “The domestic cat has recently passed the dog as the most popular companion animal in Europe, with many seeing a cat as an ideal pet for owners who work long hours. Previous research has suggested that some cats show signs of separation anxiety when left alone by their owners, in the same way that dogs do, but the results of our study show that they are in fact much more independent than canine companions. It seems that what we interpret as separation anxiety might actually be signs of frustration.”

The Lincoln researchers carefully adapted the Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST), which has been widely used to demonstrate that the bond between young children or pet dogs with their primary carer can be categorised as a ‘secure attachment’ – where the carer is seen as a focus of safety and security in potentially threatening (or unfamiliar) environments.

The study observed the relationships between a number of cats and their owners, placing the pets in an unfamiliar environment together with their owner, with a stranger and also on their own. In varying scenarios, it assessed three different characteristics of attachment; the amount of contact sought by the cat, the level of passive behaviour, and signs of distress caused by the absence of the owner.

“Although our cats were more vocal when the owner rather than the stranger left them with the other individual, we didn’t see any additional evidence to suggest that the bond between a cat and its owner is one of secure attachment.”

“For pet dogs, their owners often represent a specific safe haven; however it is clear that domestic cats are much more autonomous when it comes to coping with unusual situations.”

Source:  University of Lincoln media release

Punishment for owners who leave their pets outside in extreme weather

Illinois lawmakers have endorsed legislation that, if signed, would see owners who leave their pets outside in extreme weather sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign into law.

A dog being watched by walker Natalia Straley plays in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at the Montrose dog beach in Chicago.  (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

A dog being watched by walker Natalia Straley plays in the snow Feb. 26, 2015, at the Montrose dog beach in Chicago. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

Sponsoring Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said the bill was inspired by recent cases of dogs during the last Northern Hemisphere winter season; the dogs froze to death.

Although the legislation has passed both the State House and Senate, it needs the Governor to make it a law.  The bill has been opposed by the farming lobby, which fears it will interfere in their businesses.

It’s a progressive piece of legislation in my opinion because animals need our protection and a judge can use his/her discretion in terms of sentencing.

And as for farming, this opens a larger debate about consumption, production economies, and animal welfare – all issues that impact our environment and animals here in New Zealand.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  Chicago Tribune

Animals in Emergencies – book review

AnimalsinEmergenciesCover

I have just finished reading Animals in Emergencies:  Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes by Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne.  This was a must-read book for me.  Why?  I’m in it!

Published in late 2014, this book is largely a compilation of stories about people and animals caught up in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.  However, since it is also a text produced by university academics, it aims to serve a purpose as “an introduction to the specialised area of animal welfare management during emergencies.”

I found the first 90% of the book the most enjoyable.  Filled with stories of rescue, sheltering and individual owner’s tales of the earthquakes, the book serves to document – largely in the first person – the historical accounts of the days, weeks and months following the quakes.  And I like the fact that the book doesn’t just focus on companion animal dogs and cats, but also includes stories about horses, fish, hedgehogs and other species.

But the last 10% of the book is rather disappointing (and it hurts me to have to say this).  Since New Zealand is a production-based economy, this book had to focus on the fate of production animals.  But this is also where the book loses its tone and momentum.  Either the authors asked for interviews with farmers and researchers and were rejected, or they simply didn’t ask – we’ll never know.

Perhaps because of the lack of firsthand accounts, the book becomes too formal in its approach to describing the impact on farm animals and animals used in research.  The text uses citations from newspaper articles at this point and becomes ‘preachy’ in terms of animal welfare.  As someone with a personal interest in animal welfare management, the issues raised in the book are not new but the distinct ‘lessons learned from Christchurch’ is very much lost on the reader.

I’m pleased this book has been produced and I’m very honored to have my story told although I know that I’m a very small contributor to the overall efforts to assist animals following the quakes.

Animals in Emergencies has been distributed to booksellers worldwide and a paperback version is available on Amazon.com.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Doggy quote of the month for September

Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, ‘Yes.  But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs.’

–  C.S. Lewis

Cat-and-Dog

Researcher calls for monitoring of diseases in dogs and cats

Professor Michael Day of the School of Veterinary Sciences in Bristol, UK,  is the lead author in an article that recommends global monitoring of diseases in dogs and cats.  While it is known that many human diseases originate in animals, only diseases in livestock are currently monitored.

Professor Day makes the case that because cats and dogs are integrated into our lives and share our households, the potential for introduction of new zoonotic diseases exists.  He says:

‘The number of small companion animals is significant.  For example there are an estimated eight to ten million dogs living in up to 31 per cent of UK homes and in the USA, 72 million dogs in 37 per cent of homes. 

In developed countries the relationship between man and dogs and cats has deepened, with these animals now closely sharing the human indoor environment.  The benefits of pet ownership on human health, well-being and development are unquestionable, but as dogs and cats have moved from the barn, to the house, to the bedroom, the potential for disease spread to humans increases.’

Any new monitoring system will require resources and funding and the political will to see it established.  At a time when the global economy is struggling, one can be skeptical about whether there is a chance of seeing this recommendation become a reality.

You can read the article in the Emerging Infections Diseases journal  here.

Source:  University of Bristol media release